The Ministry of National Defense (MND) is planning to hold an exercise in Hengchun next month with its three branches conducting live-fire operations, ministry officials said yesterday.
The drill, named the “Lien Yung Exercises,” is held four to six times every year to evaluate the combat readiness of battalion and brigade-level ground forces at the end of their training, while the Air Force and Army helicopters provide fire support, the officials said.
The exercise would focus on live-fire performance by all military forces as well as training exercises for surface-to-air weapons, the official said.
The government was criticized earlier this year when it was decided that the Han Kuang annual exercises would not involve live-fire ammunition.
Sources said the Marines, the Army’s 584th Armored Division, the 200th Mechanized Infantry Division, the 601st Army Special Operations Division, the Air Force’s 401st Wing, 427th Wing, 443rd wing, and the third and fifth divisions of the Combined Logistics Command would participate in the exercises.
We have already reviewed exercise routes and after considering safety and the mobility of the forces involved, the ministry will allow the public and the media to watch on the sidelines for part of the exercise, the officials said
It is hoped such access will broaden public understanding about national defense, the officials added.
Asked whether “precision weapons,” including surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles, would follow the example set in January and be fired with legislators and the media in attendance, the officials said that while preparations had been made for such a contingency, the final decision had yet to be made.
All live-fire exercises this year, including artillery and the “Lien Hsin Exercise,” would allow media and the public participation, the official said.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer